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116 The Non-violent Transcendent Creator Gen. 1

Updated: Mar 26, 2023

Join us as we explore the very first chapter of Genesis and discover a picture of God that is non-violent. How very fitting that this is the only story of creation that has no violence in it. All the other stories of creation grow out of some kind of violence. It is a consistent picture of God. In this account of creation God is transcendent and merely speaks the world into existence. Next time we will discover the second description of creation where God is intimately involved with His creation.

116 The Non Violent Transcendent God
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The Non-violent, Transcendent Creator Genesis 1.1-2.3. God is transcendent. He is not part of the action.

  1. Account of the origin of Israel—Their roots. Written about 1450 BCE. God is an uber Pharaoh.

  2. Chapter division in wrong place. Title for deity in chapter 1 is God. In chapter 2 it is LORD God. Division is at end of 2:3.

  3. Poetic account.

3 environments in 3 days: light, atmosphere, land and vegetation (3-13). 3 environments filled in 3 days: sun & stars, birds & fish, animals & man (14-31). 7th day: environment of time created, filled with God (2:1-3).

  1. God is not involved. He simply speaks and it happens. “Let there be . . .” (3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24).

  2. God creates all the supposed gods of the nations: Sun, moon, stars, great sea creatures. The implication is that God is the one who deserves worship rather than anything in the cosmos.

  3. “Good” is pronounced twice on day 3 (10, 12), on day 4 (18), on day 5 (21), twice on day 6 (25, 31): good and very good. God is enjoying his creating.

  4. Man is made in God’s image: not physical since God is spirit and both male and female are in his image (27). What does this mean then? Freedom to choose. Moral—have a sense of integrity. Creative—including procreation. Social—let us make. Existence is relational, which means loving is more important than doing.

  5. Sexuality characterizes the creation (27). Though many differences are present between men and women they do not preclude a loving relationship between them. This illustrates the possibility of relationship between creator and creature notwithstanding the differences between them. The ability to cross the ontological divide.

  6. Man is given dominion over fish, birds & land animals (28). Fish? Echology!

  7. Man is given seeds and fruit as a diet (29) and animals are given green plants (30).

  8. Notice the order: vegetation, land-animals, man.

  9. Seventh day:

    1. God rested (2)—nothing more to do, it is perfect.

    2. God blessed the day (3)—said good words about it. Not about working but about relating.

    3. God declared the day holy (3)—God filled the day with himself to enjoy our company.

  1. This account of creation is the only non-violent account from ancient literature. All the others involve a violent confrontation between deities. Here is an example. The ancient Babylonian goddess Tiamat of the “creation” myth “Enuma elish,” relates how the storm-god Marduk fights with and wins over the sea dragon Tiamat, establishing the cosmos.

Ian Hartley, November 2022.

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